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IN THE IOWA DISTRICT COURT FOR POLK COUNTY 



LARRY R. HEDLUND, 

(DOB: 08/19/57) 

Plaintiff, 

v. 

STATE OF IOWA, K. BRIAN LONDON, 
COMMISSIONER OF THE IOWA 
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY, 
Individually, CHARIS M. 
PAULSON, DIRECTOR DIVISION OF 
CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION, 
Individually and GERARD F. MEYERS 
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF 
CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION, 
Individually, 

Defendants. 



COMES NOW the Plaintiff Larry R. Hedlund, by counsel and for his cause of action 
against Defendants, and each of them, states as follows: 

INTRODUCTION 

1. The unlawful practices alleged below were committed in Polk County, Iowa. 

2. Venue is proper in this judicial district pursuant to Iowa Code §§ 616.17 and 
616.18, in that one or more of the Defendants actually reside in Polk County, Iowa. 

PARTIES 

3. At all times material hereto, Plaintiff Larry R. Hedlund ("Hedlund") was a 
resident of Fort Dodge, Webster County, Iowa. 



CASE NO. 
PETITION 



4. At all times material hereto, Defendant K. Brian London ("Commissioner 
London") was a resident of Polk County and the Commissioner of the Iowa Department of 
Public Safety ("Iowa DPS"). 

6. At all times material hereto, Defendant Charis M. Paulson ("Director Paulson") 
was a resident of Polk County and the Director of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation 
("DCI"). 

7. At all times material hereto, Defendant Gerard F. Meyers ("AD Meyers") was a 
resident of Warren County and the Assistant Director-Field Operations for the DCI. 

8. At all times material hereto, Defendant State of Iowa was a sovereign state as 
defined in the Iowa Code with its principal place of business in Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa. 

FACTUAL BACKGROUND 

9. On July 1, 1988, Hedlund began his employment with the Iowa DPS with the 
Iowa State Patrol as a State Trooper. On June 1, 1989 he became a Special Agent in the Major 
Crimes Unit ("MCU"). 

10 On July 10, 2010, Hedlund was promoted to a Special Agent Supervisor also 
known as a Special Agent in Charge ("SAC") in the MCU. Hedlund was an SAC at the time of 
his wrongful termination. 

11. Hedlund' s duties as an SAC included supervising eight Special Agents covering 
29 Iowa Counties. The Special Agents under his supervision were involved in investigating 
homicides, missing and abducted persons, child abuse, computer related crimes and vice. 

12. During his tenure with the Iowa DPS, Hedlund was an exemplary employee. He 
was never demoted, suspended or reprimanded until being placed on paid administrative leave on 
May 1, 2013. 



13. During his tenure with Iowa DPS, Hedlund repeatedly raised objections and 
concerns and disclosed information to Iowa DPS leadership about actions and conduct which he 
reasonably believed evidenced a violation of the law or rule, mismanagement, an abuse of 
authority or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety including, but not limited 
to, the following: 

(a) Hedlund repeatedly emailed and spoke with Director 
Paulson about the competency of AD Meyers to perform 
the duties of Assistant Director-Field Operations including 
his failure and refusal to timely respond to phone calls, text 
messages and emails. Hedlund specifically pointed out that 
such conduct was hampering and impairing the ability of 
field agents to effectively and efficiently perform their 
duties; 

(b) On January 10, 2013, Director Paulson sent an email to her 
leadership team titled "Agent Notification Assignment" 
with attachments which included a letter to police chiefs, 
county sheriffs and county attorneys as well as talking 
points for field agents. The letter and talking points 
involved possible errors made by a latent finger print 
examiner employed by Iowa DPS. On January 10, 2013 
the email with attachments was forward to Hedlund by AD 
Meyers for dissemination to his field agents. In an email 
dated January 10, 2013, Hedlund responded: "We will 
carry out the orders as instructed." Hedlund did, however, 
note his objection to certain statements contained in the 
letter and talking points as "potentially misleading and 
inaccurate." In the email, Hedlund informed AD Meyers 
that: "If asked if I think that is an accurate and true 
statement, there is no way I could answer that in the 
affirmative and I could not and would not order my Agents 
to answer it in the affirmative." Hedlund received no 
response to his email. Hedlund sent additional emails to 
AD Meyers involving at least two cases where field agents 
had questions specifically about the integrity of latent 
finger prints. AD Meyers failed to respond to these emails. 

(c) On March 18, 2013, Hedlund filed Employee Complaints 
against Director Paulson and AD Meyers with the Iowa 
Department of Administrative Services ("DAS"). The 
DAS Complaint involved the following incidents: 



Meyers (who at the time was an SAC) directed 
profanity and aggressive behavior toward Director 
Jim Saunders. Hedlund asserted that Meyers' 
conduct was unprofessional and insubordinate and a 
violation of the Violence Free Workplace Policy. 
Hedlund further asserted that Paulson made no 
effort to calm Meyers down or to diffuse the 
situation and that the matter was not adequately 
investigated or dealt with correctly. 

AD Meyers suggested, or at the very least implied, 
that DCI Agents who received parking tickets at 
Iowa State University could simply ignore them. In 
response to an email from Hedlund dated March 8, 
2013, Meyers stated the following: "I was up there 
yesterday and simply put a business card on my 
dash and I encountered no issues. We may have to 
do the best we can to solve the problem. Not too 
[sic] mention, if they get a ticket simply disregard it 
as it is a campus ticket only penalty for non- 
payment. It's no access to transcripts so read 
between my lines." 

In June 2012, Paulson (who at the time was an 
Assistant Director) assigned SAC Hedlund the task 
of investigating an allegation of assault and hazing 
at the 34 th DPS Academy. While investigating the 
assault and hazing allegations, Hedlund uncovered 
credible evidence that a Drill Instructor had a 
consensual sexual relationship with a recruit during 
the 33 rd DPS Academy. Hedlund followed up on 
the lead because such conduct violates DPS 
regulations. He also believed the incident was 
relevant to the assault and hazing investigation in 
that such conduct was a reflection of the permissive 
environment created by the Academy Cadre 
(leadership). Hedlund was instructed by Paulson to 
cease any further investigation and not interview 
any witnesses regarding the sexual relationship 
between the Drill Instructor and the recruit. This 
was the first time in Hedlund' s career that he had 
ever been told that he could not interview a witness 
or follow up on an investigative lead. On June 26, 
2012 Hedlund sent Paulson an email that he would 



follow her orders, but articulated why he thought 
the investigation was relevant and should continue. 
He never received a reply to his email. 

(iv) On August 28, 2012 Paulson, who at the time was 
an Assistant Director, sent an inappropriate email to 
the SAC's. 

(v) That London, since assuming the position of 
Commissioner, had used implied and overt threats 
of demotion and termination to get his way, had not 
maintained a work environment of respect and 
positive conflict resolution and had micromanaged 
the work of field agents all causing a devastating 
drop in morale. 

14. The DAS Complaint, with the exception of the complaint against Commissioner 
London, was referred the Professional Standards Bureau of the Iowa DPS for investigation and 
disposition. The Professional Standards Bureau has not advised Hedlund regarding the 
determination or disposition of his complaints. 

15. On April 18, 2013, a telephone conference was held with Director Paulson, AD 
Meyers, SAC Hedlund, SAC William Keitzman, SAC Michael Motsinger, SAC Matthew Sauer, 
and SAC Mitch Mortvedt. Approximately five minutes before the meeting, the SAC's were 
given a document which proposed a major redistricting of the MCU by reducing the number of 
zones from four to three. 

16. The SAC's, including Hedlund, were upset about being given a document 
involving a major restructuring of the MCU five minutes before the meeting. Hedlund and the 
other SAC's expressed their opinions about the change throughout the telephone conference. At 
no time was Hedlund disrespectful or insubordinate to any of the SAC's or to AD Meyers or 
Director Paulson. 



17 A follow up in-person meeting was held on April 23, 2013 in Ankeny, Iowa. The 
meeting was attended by Director Paulson, AD Meyers, SAC Hedlund, SAC William Keitzman, 
SAC Michael Motsinger, SAC Matthew Sauer, and SAC Mitch Mortvedt. In the course of this 
meeting there was a discussion about keeping the four zones in the MCU in exchange for each of 
the SAC's taking on an additional special assignment. At no time during the April 23, 2103 was 
Hedlund disrespectful or insubordinate to AD Meyers or Director Paulson or any of the SACs. 

18. At the conclusion of the April 23, 2013 meeting, SAC Hedlund had a reasonable 
good faith belief that he was to assume the special assignment of working cold cases. 

19. On April 23, 2013, after the meeting concluded, AD Meyers praised Hedlund for 
his willingness to speak passionately about the issues. Director Paulson was present when AD 
Meyers made this comment. At no time did Director Paulson or AD Meyers indicate to Hedlund 
that he had been disrespectful or insubordinate during the April 23, 2013 meeting or the 
telephone conference call on April 18, 2013. 

20. Hedlund had previously submitted a request for a vacation day on April 26, 2013. 
The request was approved by Acting AD Mitch Mortvedt on April 14, 2013. 

21. Hedlund knew and understood that creating an effective and efficient cold case 
unit would take a substantial amount of up-front time and effort and, sensing urgency from DPS 
leadership to start the project, determined that he would forego part of his pre-approved vacation 
day to begin working on the cold case project. 

22. Hedlund made arrangements to meet with a retired DCI Agent, who currently 
volunteers with the Cedar Rapids Police Department working on cold cases. Hedlund and the 
retired agent agreed to meet in Cedar Rapids on the morning of April 26, 2013. 



23. Hedlund traveled to Cedar Rapids in the late afternoon of April 25, 2013 in his 
state issued vehicle. It was his intention to meet with his field agents in Cedar Falls that 
afternoon. The agents had other duties to attend to so he was unable to meet with them and 
decided to drive to Cedar Rapids and spend the night. Hedlund spent the night in Cedar Rapids 
and paid for the hotel room with his own money. 

24. In the evening of April 25, 2013, Hedlund had a phone call with the retired DCI 
agent who told him he had forgotten about a meeting he had to attend in Des Moines on April 
26 th and he would not be able to meet with Hedlund as planned. The retired DCI agent 
suggested to Hedlund that he call Wade Kisner another former DCI agent with extensive 
knowledge on cold cases. 

25. On the morning of April 26, 2013, Hedlund phoned Wade Kisner and arranged a 
meeting. Kisner and Hedlund met in Cedar Rapids for approximately 1 hour an 45 minutes 
discussing work related matters including cold cases. Hedlund was wearing a dress shirt and tie 
at the meeting. 

26. After the meeting with Kisner, Hedlund attended an art show for his niece which 
lasted less than an hour. 

27. Hedlund left Cedar Rapids at approximately 12:30 p.m. for Ft. Dodge. While 
driving west on Highway 20, he spotted a black SUV with tinted windows doing a "hard ninety." 

28. Hedlund phoned dispatch and a Hamilton County deputy sheriff clocked the black 
SUV going 84 mph in a 65 mph zone. 

29. The Iowa State Patrol became involved in the pursuit which was called off after 
the state trooper determined that the black SUV was being driven by another state trooper and its 



passengers included Governor Terry E. Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds. The 
SUV was not pulled over or ticketed on April 26, 2013. 

30. On April 29, 2013 at approximately 8:30 a.m., Hedlund sent an email to Director 
Paulson which he requested that she forward up the chain of command as soon as possible. The 
email, addressed to Commissioner London, is "a complaint against myself: SAC Larry 
Hedlund." Director Paulson forwarded the email to Commission London and Executive 
Commisioner Steve Ponsetto at 11:14 a.m on April 29, 2013. 

31. The April 29, 2013 email from Hedlund sets forth in detail the events which 
occurred on U.S. Highway 20 on April 26, 2013 involving the Governor's SUV. The email also 
states: "As the ranking sworn peace officer involved in this incident and as a Supervisor with the 
Department of Public Safety, I should have insisted the vehicle be stopped. Even though the 
suspect vehicle was long gone by the time I found out the actual reason it wasn't stopped, I could 
have still had actions taken to catch it and stop and address the dangerous situation." 

32. In the April 29, 2013 email to Commissioner London, Hedlund also states "Since 
the speeding vehicle passed through at least two counties I intend to contact the appropriate 
County Attorney's offices and the Attorney General's office to see how best to proceed with this 
matter." He further states "I don't believe the Governor of the State of Iowa is above the laws of 
the State of Iowa. With all due respect, as long as I am a sworn officer with this Department, I 
don't believe anyone has the authority to order me to not do my job and violate the oath I took." 

33. On April 29, 2013 at 1 1:30 a.m., 16 minutes after forwarding the email to London 
and Ponsetto, Director Paulson canceled a previously scheduled meeting with Hedlund. 

34. Director Paulson's only response to Hedlund' s email occurred on April 30, 2013 
at 7:32 a.m. and is as follows: "Since you were on an approved vacation day on Friday, April 



26, 2013, please explain to me the reason that you were in a state vehicle travelling [sic] 
Westbound on Highway 20 East of the 1-35 interchange at approximately 2pm on Friday 
afternoon." 

35. Hedlund responded to Paulson via email that he met with Kisner the morning of 
April 26, 2013 to discuss cold cases. Paulson did not reply to this email., 

36. On April 29, 2013 at 4:45 p.m. Hedlund sent an email to Director Paulson with a 
copy to AD Meyers that he needed to "take this evening and tomorrow off for personal reasons." 
In the email he advised his superiors that he had made arrangements for someone to be Acting 
SAC in his absence. 

37. On April 30, 2013 Hedlund went to his doctor who took him off work for stress 
through May 3, 2013. 

38. On May 1, 2013, AD Meyers, AD Dave Jobes and Sergeant Wes Niles of the 
Iowa State Patrol, knowing that Hedlund was off work for stress, choose to go to his home in 
Fort Dodge in order to take him out of service and place him on paid administrative leave. 

39. Hedlund complied with their requests to turn over his handgun, shotgun, badge, 
car, cell phone, laptop computer and office keys. While standing on Hedlund' s front porch AD 
Meyers made the following statement to Hedlund: "This isn't the way it is supposed to be done, 
but this is what the Commissioner said to do." 

40. On May 1, 2013 Hedlund was given a Notice of Investigation which alleged that 
he was disrespectful and insubordinate during a conference call with DCI leadership on April 18, 
2013, that he was operating a state vehicle during a period of approved leave status, that he failed 
to request and receive approval before taking leave on April 30, 2013, and the he engaged in 
conduct that impairs the operations of the Department. 



41. On May 14, 2013, Hedlund was ordered to attend a Fitness for Duty Evaluation 
by Phillip Ascheman, Ph.D. 

42. On May 16, 2013, Hedlund attended the Fitness for Duty Evaluation with Dr. 
Ascheman. Dr. Ascheman prepared a "Psychological Evaluation" that same day and concluded 
that there is no "evidence of a mental health disorder" and that "this individual is fit for duty." 

43. Despite being cleared for duty on May 16, 2013, Hedlund is not allowed to return 
to work. 

44. On June 19, 2013, Hedlund was interviewed by the Professional Standard Bureau 
of the Iowa DPS for over three hours. 

45. Hedlund' s employment with the Iowa DPS was terminated on July 17, 2013. 
The final decisionmaker regarding Hedlund' s termination was Commissioner London with input 
from Director Paulson and AD Meyers. 

46. On July 18 Governor Brandstad held a press conference where he called 
Hedlund' s termination "fair and just" and necessary for the "morale and safety and the well- 
being of the department." This statement is false and defamatory per se. 

47. On information and belief, the statement that Hedlund' s termination was 
necessitated for "safety " reasons was from information conveyed directly or indirectly to the 
Governor from Commissioner London, Director Paulson and AD Meyers. 

COUNT I 

WRONGFUL DISCHARGE IN VIOLATION OF PUBLIC POLICY 

COMES NOW the Plaintiff Larry R. Hedlund and for his cause of action against 
Defendant State of Iowa and Defendants London, Paulson and Meyers individually states as 
follows: 



48. Hedlund realleges and incorporates by reference the allegations contained in 
paragraphs 1 through 47 of this Petition as if fully set forth herein. 

49. Hedlund was suspended and later terminated by Defendants, and each of them, 
after reporting to his superiors at Iowa DPS that Governor Brandstad's SUV was traveling at a 
speed far in excess of the legal limit and that such conduct created a public safety hazard. In 
making the report to his superiors at the Iowa DPS, Hedlund also threatened to report the public 
safety hazard created by Governor Branstad's SUV to outside authorities including the Attorney 
General's office and the county attorneys for the two counties where the speeding violation 
occurred. 

50. In making the internal report and the threat of an external complaint, Hedlund was 
following his statutory duties as a sworn peace officer to enforce all laws including laws relating 
to traffic on public highways of the state, including those relating to the safe and legal operation 
of passenger cars in order to ensure that proper safety rules are observed. 

5 1 . Hedlund' s termination violates well established public policy of the State of Iowa 
as defined by statute, regulation and judicial decision which public policy would be undermined 
and jeopardized under the circumstances of this case. 

52. Hedlund was suspended and later discharged as a result of his participation in 
protected activity and Defendants' proffered reasons for his discharge are pretextual and 
otherwise without legitimate reason to justify his termination. 

53. As a direct and proximate result of Defendants' actions, and each of them, 
Hedlund has suffered and will continue to suffer loss of wages, benefits, job security and other 
emoluments of employment and has suffered and will continue to suffer mental anguish, 
emotional distress and damage to his reputation. 



54. The conduct of individual defendants London, Paulson and Meyers was willful, 
wanton and malicious and was in conscious and reckless disregard of Hedlund's rights so as to 
warrant the imposition of punitive damages. 

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff Larry R. Hedlund requests judgment against Defendants, and 
each of them, in such an amount as will fully and fairly compensate him for his injuries and 
damages, for punitive damages against the individual defendants, for interest as allowed by law, 
the costs of this action and for such other and further relief as the court deems equitable on the 
premises. 

COUNT II 

WRONGFUL DISCHARGE IN VIOLATION OF IOWA CODE CHAPTER 70A 

COMES NOW the Plaintiff Larry R. Hedlund and for his cause of action against 
Defendants State of Iowa, London, Paulson and Meyers individually and states as follows: 

55. Hedlund realleges and incorporates by reference the allegations contained in 
paragraphs 1 through 46 of this Petition as if fully set forth herein. 

56. Hedlund was suspended and later terminated by Defendant State of Iowa after 
reporting and disclosing to his superiors at the Iowa DPS, who are both public officials and 
members of a law enforcement agency, that he witnessed Governor Branstad's SUV traveling at 
an excessive speed and that such conduct violated the law and constituted a substantial and 
specific danger to public health and safety. 

57. Hedlund also reported and disclosed to his superiors at the Iowa DPS, who are 
both public officials and members of a law enforcement agency, information regarding incidents 
and conduct by state officials that he reasonably believed evidenced violations of the law or rule, 



mismanagement, abuse of authority and a substantial and specific danger to public health and 
safety. 

58. Hedlund was suspended and later discharged after reporting the above conduct 
and the reasons proffered by Defendants for his suspension and discharge are pretextual. 

59. The actions and conduct of London, Paulson and Meyers in suspending and later 
terminating Hedlund' s employment constitutes a simple misdemeanor under Iowa Code 
§70A.28(4). 

60. As a direct and proximate result of Defendants' actions, Hedlund has suffered and 
will continue to suffer loss of wages, benefits, job security and other emoluments of employment 
and has suffered and will continue to suffer mental anguish, emotional distress and damage to his 
reputation. 

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff Larry R. Hedlund requests judgment against Defendants, and 
each of them, in such an amount as will fully and fairly compensate him for his injuries and 
damages, for attorney fees and costs, for interest as allowed by law and for such other and further 
relief as the court deems equitable on the premises. 



/s/ THOMAS J. DUFF 

THOMAS J. DUFF (AT 0002229) 

DUFF LAW FIRM, P.L.C. 

The Griffin Building 

319 Seventh Street, Suite 600 

Des Moines, Iowa 50309 

Telephone: (515) 283-1111 

tom@tdufflaw.com 



/s/ ELIZABETH FLANSBURG 

ELIZABETH FLANSBURG (AT0002614) 
LAWYER, DOUGHERTY, PALMER 

& FLANSBURG, PLC 
4090 Westown Parkway, Suite E 
West Des Moines, IA 50266 
Telephone: 515/223-8860 
bethflansburg @ me.com 
ATTORNEYS FOR PLAINTIFF